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Soliciting vendor input prior to an RFP can go a long way, according to a recently released Onvia survey.
Vendors increasingly target government agencies with greater ease of doing business, so procurement teams can improve bids by soliciting vendor input with requests for information, pre-proposal conferences and vendor fairs.
Of the 553 government procurement professionals who participated Seattle-based business intelligence company Onvia’s annual “Government Agency Procurement Survey,” 42 percent reported competitive bids and RFPs not receiving enough bidders.
“Cumbersome” procurement regulations were cited as the second biggest problems, which could help explain low bid numbers.
Without enough lead time, vendors won’t be able to adequately research bids to find out who won them previously and what products were awarded. They won’t bid—a potential loss for the agency.
Onvia predicts modest 2 to 3 percent procurement spending growth in 2016 and that vendor sales will remain stable.
Replacing unnecessary formal or traditional advertised bids with small, cooperative or multi-year renewable purchases that are quicker to prepare could help increase bidding volume. And non-traditional buying is becoming mainstream, according to the report.
Procurement staff reported their teams were “stretched” in 35 percent of cases—an argument for automating the process. Jobs are being lost as employees retire or leave, and they’re not being re-staffed. Vendors must be mindful of this and send easy-to-read communications to government buyers.
Before issuing a request for proposal, agencies can use RFIs to encourage competition by getting bidders more involved in the process—a method that’s underused despite many agencies being strapped for cash.
For the full report, with information on overall procurement effectiveness, visit here.
Dave Nyczepir is a News Editor at Government Executive’s Route Fifty and is based in Washington D.C.